PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Jose Reyes said that he isn't setting any hard deadlines on a contract extension like a certain Cardinals slugger down I-95 in Jupiter.
"C'mon, man," Reyes said. "I'm not Albert Pujols. I'm Jose Reyes, so we're kind of different players."
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But when it comes to free agency, they may share one important detail - a desire to wait until the end of the season before talking again about a new contract.
Reyes said numerous times during the winter that he did not want to be involved in negotiations during the season. And with GM Sandy Alderson saying earlier this week that it was "unlikely" to happen during spring training, Reyes likely could hit the open market this year.
"During the season I want to focus on playing baseball and do my job to help this team to win," Reyes said Wednesday. "I prefer talking after the season, when I'm going to be a free agent."
Reyes can talk about wanting to avoid the distraction of such discussions, but he has a lot to gain by hitting the open market for the first time. Players eagerly look forward to such an opportunity, and Reyes, who is earning $11 million this season, could be in line for a huge contract. "I need to stay healthy on the field and play a full season without a problem, so that's why I don't think about my contract," Reyes said.
Manager Terry Collins said that Carlos Beltran will not have to compete for his job. "When he walks in the first day, he's the centerfielder," Collins said . . . Catcher Ronny Paulino has been delayed by visa issues and Collins was unsure when he would arrive.